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Golf - Shaping Your Shots

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Good shots in golf are not an accident. To hit good shots more consistently you first need a setup and swing that is fundamentally sound. You then need to be able to select the right club based on your circumstances and be able to execute a swing that will launch your ball directly at your designated target. Finally, you need to practice regularly in order build a consistent swing that you can take out on the golf course.

If you have difficulty hitting straight shots, then you should probably have your swing analyzed by a qualified teaching professional. With the proper advice and modifications to your swing you should be able to produce a swing that will have you hitting more fairways.

Predictable ball flight is essential to posting lower scores. Most professional golfers have the ability to predict the flight of their ball before each shot because they understand and practice working their ball at the range. The ability to shape your shots will not only help you hit more fairways, but also help you get out of trouble when you miss the fairway.  

There are two basic types of shots that you might need to learn the next time you are in trouble after missing a fairway. Trees often will come into play when you are in the rough and off of the fairway. To get out of trouble with the fewest number of shots you need to be able to either fade or draw the ball around obstacles. These types of shots are safer and easier to hit than shots that go either over or under a large tree.

The best place to learn working your ball is at the driving range. Start with a midiron either a 5 or 7 iron. There are two basics changes in your setup that need to be made to produce either a fade or a draw. A draw is a shot that starts out right of your target (for a right handed golfer) and moves slowly to the left. First, close your stance so that your feet are pointing to the right of your target. Next, change the position of your lower (right) hand, by rotating your grip counterclockwise to help slightly close the clubface. These two simple adjustments will have you hitting predictable iron shots that move from the right to the left. Finally, use the same two adjustments with your woods and practice shaping your shots with these longer clubs.

A fade is a shot that starts out left of your target (for a right handed golfer) and gradually moves to the right. Start again with a midiron and gradually move on to the fairway woods. First, open your stance so that your feet are pointing to the left of your target. Then adjust the position of your lower (right) hand by rotating your grip clockwise to help slightly open the clubface. You should find that before time you can hit predictable fades with both your irons and fairway woods. Practice hitting draws and fades with also your hybrid and rescue clubs, so that the next time you find yourself in trouble off of the fairway, you will have a selection of clubs from which to choose from.

You may also decide to shape some shots from the tee, when you are playing a hole with a severe dogleg. First make sure that the distance that you need to hit the ball around the dogleg is an achievable distance for you from the tee. Practice hitting both draws and fades with your driver at the practice range until you are confident enough to take those swings on the course.

Good golf shots again are not an accident and predictable ball flight with a little practice should not be an accident as well!  


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Cameron Burechails
Teaching Professional
The Georgian Bay Golf Academy